African-American mutinies in the United States Armed Forces

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There have been several mutinies by African-Americans in the United States Armed Forces, often owing to racial tension.

Houston Riot[edit]

The Houston Riot occurred in 1917 when a group of 156 African-American soldiers disobeyed orders from their superiors, seized weapons and attempted to march on the City of Houston. At courts-martial, nineteen soldiers were executed, and forty-one were given life sentences. The riot created a deep concern for black leaders who were not sure whether it was appropriate to praise an act of mutiny.[1]

World War II[edit]

An Australian historian claims to have uncovered information that in 1942, the 96th Engineer Battalion, an African-American battalion stationed in Townsville, Australia, mutinied in response to racial discrimination, firing 700 machine-gun rounds into occupied tents of white officers.[2][3]

In 1944, a large number of African-Americans refused to load munitions after hundreds of their fellow African-American soldiers were killed in the Port Chicago disaster. The soldiers were charged with mutiny and given jail sentences that were later reduced.

In 1945, the Freeman Field Mutiny, was a series of incidents at Freeman Army Airfield, a United States Army Air Forces base near Seymour, Indiana, in 1945 in which African American members of the 477th Bombardment Group attempted to integrate an all-white officers' club. The mutiny resulted in 162 separate arrests of black officers, some of them twice.

Other notable African-American mutinies of World War II include those at Dale Mabry Field,[4] Fort Bragg, Camp Robinson, Camp Davis, Camp Lee, and Fort Dix, among others.[5] Black soldiers fired on white soldiers in mutinies at Camp Claiborne and Brookley Air Force Base.[6]

Second Koza riot[edit]

The so-called "second Koza riot" occurred in Okinawa in 1971. A group of 50 African-American men from an unknown base near Koza began attacking white-owned businesses around midnight on August 17. Japanese Okinawans stood them down and called the police. The mob vanished into the night. It is unknown if any of them were arrested, except for one man whose car broke down while trying to escape and fled Japanese pursuers into the arms of American police.[7][8][9]

USS Kitty Hawk riot[edit]

The USS Kitty Hawk riot has also been described as a mutiny.[10][page needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James E. Westheider. The African American Experience in Vietnam: Brothers in Arms, p. 4
  2. ^ "AM - Townsville WW2 mutiny uncovered by Queensland historian 10/02/2012". Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Queensland historian reveals World War II cover-up". ABC News. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Milwaukee Journal - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Soldiers in revolt: GI resistance during the Vietnam War. p. 149.
  6. ^ Kari A. Frederickson. The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932-1968. p. 31.
  7. ^ Okinawa Times, August 17, 1971 evening edition; Okinawa Times, August 18, 1971 morning edition;『琉球新報』1971年8月17日朝刊
  8. ^ 思想の科学硏究会 (1978). 日本占領軍その光と影. 2. 現代史出版会. p. 259. 
  9. ^ コザ市編 (1974). コザ市史. Koza: City of Koza. p. 903. 
  10. ^ Gregory A. Freeman. Troubled Water: Race, Mutiny, and Bravery on the USS Kitty Hawk. Macmillan, 2009.